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A Guide for a Heroic Life

by T.A. Barron

Age Range: 12 - 15

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-399-23860-3
Publisher: Philomel

Environmentalist, author of several epic-length fantasies, and founder of an award for heroic young people, Barron invites readers to hike with an international company of heroes drawn from history, literature, and contemporary news reports. Defining five types of heroism, from unpremeditated acts such as Pocahontas’s rescue of John Smith or, more recently, nine-year-old Sherwin Long’s of his drowning little brother, to the constant courage displayed by the likes of Stephen Hawking, Helen Keller, and others challenged by seemingly overwhelming physical obstacles, he develops the idea that anyone, of any age, anywhere, can walk a hero’s path, given some combination of courage, faith, perseverance, hope, “moral direction,” and humor. He makes his points in a lucid, direct way, supports them with anecdotes featuring, for the most part, children or teenagers, and closes with a gathering of inspirational lines from Chief Seattle, Mae West, and other sages. Though Barron may confuse less knowledgeable readers by tucking fictional heroes—Prometheus, Frodo, Mafutu from Call It Courage—into his gallery of living, or once-living, ones, the simplicity of the message and wide range of examples combine to make compelling motivational reading. (notes, bibliography, index of names only, small black-and-white photos) (Nonfiction. 12-15)